It’s reasonable to think that you and your family mostly just want to hole up in the house during the winter season. But Healthspan research found that winter fatigue is one of the UK’s top complaints with 97% of people feeling the effects of tiredness during the colder months. The good news is that physical activities such as simply taking a walk can help return you to your normal energy levels during winter.
If you have young children it’s even more important to get them out and about. The minimum recommended time for outdoor activity for young children is 60 minutes, which is something that becomes harder during the shorter days. To make sure you have everything your children need for outdoor walks, it’s just a matter of planning and being prepared.
Making sure your children are dressed warmly and as covered as possible is only half of the preparation. If you have a toddler that can’t walk for long distances or is still wobbly on certain surfaces, a guide to pushchairs by iCandy explains how three-wheel pushchairs are ideal for all terrains, whether it is busy city paths or countryside roads, as they provide more stability over rough ground. Having a robust pushchair will allow you to expand your walking options outside of the city and easily fulfil the recommended 60 minutes. Additionally, pack some extra dry mitts, hats, and towels if necessary. It might sound obvious, but dressing them properly and having the right equipment ready is essential in making your stroll pleasurable for the whole family.
Going on winter walks with the family isn’t just fun but also beneficial to everyone’s health. Here are some of the top reasons why:
Walking in the winter can ensure you’re getting the right amount of vitamin D. It’s hard to get enough vitamin D in the winter as the days are shorter and the weather is unpredictable. Lack of vitamin D can lead to constant coughs and colds, fatigue, and poor bone and tooth health. For children there is also an increased risk of rickets. If you feel the walks aren’t doing enough you should also use supplements. UK guidelines recommend 10mcg vitamin D dosages for children more than 1-year-old.
Improves blood circulation
A brisk walk in the cold helps your blood circulate as much as running in the summer. In fact, the Telegraph reports that scientists attribute weak circulatory muscles to living in conditions without much variation in temperature. Enjoying the cold once in a while can help boost your children’s and your circulatory system.
Helps your circadian rhythm
Shorter days also means the delicate balance of your internal clock may be affected. When it’s dark outside, your body produces more melatonin – the hormone which invites you to sleep more – and it can impact your plans. Being exposed to the light helps your body adjust and even lift your mood, keeping you awake for longer.
Reduce infections, and inflammation
You may be more likely to catch colds and the flu during the winter but going outside for a while can actually help you reduce the chances of catching anything. Studies cited on Business Insider suggest that the human immune system gets activated when exposed to the cold. The low temperature also helps decrease inflammation.
Margaret S. Williamson is a blogger and mother who loves to write about her family and provide tips that she believes will help other families. As a mother she is concerned about the increasing dominance of screens in our children’s lives and hopes that her articles will motivate families to get outside more. When she isn’t writing she can be found pottering around in her vegetable garden.
There’s no reason not to enjoy the winter outdoors with your family. Bath has plenty of family walks you can go on that will take you around the city and the surrounding area. You can find some lovely suggestions on our Places to Go page!